Debord & Dérive

Final Major Project, Visual Research

Drifting in My Natural Environment

My fixation on nature within the city has prompted me to delve deeper and explore why I’m so drawn to it emotionally as well as creatively. My dissertation studio is London Walking thus the basis of my dissertation has to be structured on a walk of my choice which has encouraged me to write about nature in London and how the city is a garden. However as walking is a method of research, I realised it was important for me to be aware of Guy Debord’s Theory of the Dérive.




My Derive

Dérive is a term that refers to ‘drifting’. It involves letting go of any motives for movement and allowing yourself to be drawn by attractions of your surrounding space and the encounters found there.

After reading extracts on Debord’s theory, I decided to take a short walk on the road I live on in Clapham and see what I’m naturally drawn to as the theory suggests. I became very aware of just how much nature alone I walk past on a daily basis and not even notice such as the moss on the stone walls, the endless abandoned green patches with wild plants, wild ivy, as well as the countless people who put plant pots or window boxes outside their houses.


I realised as a stand alone exercise, drifting works and I allow myself to be drawn into particular areas of the street by the many different types of nature I encounter whether that be uncontrolled nature such as weeds and plants or controlled nature that has been introduced into the city by its inhabitants through the use of window boxes and baskets. For the sake of using this methodology for my dissertation however, the theory of the dérive presents some issues. The main issue being you can’t really detach yourself from your intentions whilst drifting, when you’re using it to investigate an agenda. Therefore is it really true to the theory?








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